Over the weekend, Dan’s parents came to visit us and we gave them their belated birthday present – a home-cooked dinner made by yours truly and my hubby.
While celebrating their birthdays back in July, we gave them a bottle of wine (to BYOB for the dinner) and a sample menu where they could pick from a few choices for an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. All would be made by Dan and I and ready when they got to our place.The menu for the evening was: Appetizer: melted fresh mozzarella and prosciutto crostini topped with basil
Entree: wild mushroom and Parmesan spinach ravioli in marinara sauce served with garlic herb knots
Dessert: Madagascan black vanilla bean honey yogurt panna cotta drizzled with warm honey Sounds fancy. Honestly, the prep time wasn’t too long, and we definitely blocked out the day for cooking (and cleaning to make our apartment presentable!). The appetizer was the easiest. We put some prosciutto and deli mozzarella (not the fresh kind because it’s too watery) on top of some baguette slices and sprinkles the top with basil.
I put those in the oven for about 7 minutes at 350, which was until the cheese melted.The next easiest was the dessert. We’ve made the panna cotta before, so it wasn’t a challenge.
The garlic knots also were a breeze.
My secret? Store bought pizza dough from Trader Joe’s. I sliced the dough, rolled it, and tied it into these cute little knots.
I sauteed 4 cloves of garlic in olive oil, then brushed the mixture on top of the knots before baking them. I also added parsley and a bit of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake those for about 8 minutes at 350.The most time-consuming was by far the mushroom ravioli.
We handmade the spinach dough and made the mushroom filling from scratch.We topped the ravioli with some of my marinara sauce, which is Giada’s basic recipe with my own little tweaks. As for decor, I kept it really simple. A single white daisy in a glass vase. White tablecloth. Bold red cloth napkins. White china/serveware.
I read somewhere that white plates really let the food stand out, and I totally agree. This is the first time I really focused on that, and I was really happy with the results. I’ll be sure to use that tip again in the future.It was a fun night with family and food.